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Wednesday, 15 September 1971
Page: 1370

Mr COHEN (Robertson) - The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Cotton) in his statement relating to the sites for the proposed second airport for Sydney said:

Once established it is vitally important that they are able to be located in areas where there is ample opportunity to have them adequately separated from the surrounding development that a large and fast growing metropolis like the Newcastle, Sydney, Wollongong complex brings in its train.

One of the 2 places named in the report is in my electorate of Robertson. I want to know why this particular area has been selected. I can understand some of the appealing aspects from the point of view of the interdepartmental committee because the site is midway between Newcastle and Sydney. I think that the population of Newcastle will probably be around the half million mark fairly soon. The population of Sydney is about 2i million. It is predicted that the central coast area of Robertson will soon have a population of half a million. Therefore I can see that from the population point of view it is ideally situated. However, 40 per cent of the traffic will come from the north shore of Sydney. It does not take long to get from the north shore to the Somersby area on the expressway which now links those areas. I estimate that it takes about 30 minutes drive from Hornsby to Somersby.

So if 40 per cent of the traffic comes from the north shore there is quite a distinct attraction in having an airport in that position. It lakes me anything from 55 minutes to li hours, depending on the traffic, to go from Turramurra where I presently live to the Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport. If I had to go to Somersby I would be there in about 40 minutes. These are 2 very good reasons why the interdepartmental committee has selected this particular area. Land may be purchased fairly reasonably. I have noticed with great interest some of the sites that were crossed off the list. I notice that Duffy's Forest - which I understand is either in or very close to the electorate of the Minister for Social Services (Mr Wentworth) - has been crossed off. That site would be even more appealing. Why has Duffy's Forest been scrubbed off the list?

All that we are given is the cryptic comment that Duffy's Forest could not be developed for use by international aircraft.

Mr Buchanan - That is all right.

Mr COHEN - Why?

Mr Buchanan - It does not fit.

Mr COHEN - No explanation has been given. Could it be that the electorates of 3 Liberal members - the honourable member for Bradfield (Mr Turner), the Minister for Social Services and the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar) - are close to this site? We know that a great deal of the airport traffic comes from their electorates. They are perfectly happy to have airports as long as they are out amongst the working class people who are the ones that have to put up with the noise. Heaven forbid that the genteel people of the north shore should have to put up with that noise. They want airports but they want to stick them down amongst the working class people and let them put up with the noise. I want a better explanation as to why Duffy's Forest has been crossed off this list.

Mr MacKellar - You can do better than that.

Mr COHEN - 1 will do a lot better than that when I am finished with you. I can imagine the pressures that would have been exerted on Liberal members when the Duffy's Forest site was suggested. I have a business in the area and I know how effective those people can be at getting to the people who count in making- these decisions. Unfortunately they have far more influence at the moment than the people from Grayndler, Newcastle and Robertson have. The north shore people want an airport and they are the ones who will use it most. Let them have it in their area. Let them inhale their own filthy pollution from their aeroplanes.

I believe that this is purely and simply a political decision. I know for a fact that, barring any violent upsets in the political arena, the Liberals have written off the area of Robertson. They have also written off the 2 State seats of Gosford and Wyong. They know that they will not be able to hold the seat of Mitchell very much longer because Mitchell is a growing area and, like all the outer urban areas, is going to go Labor. So they are perfectly happy to stick the airport in areas where they will not lose any votes in the future. I am trying to find out this evening exactly where in Somersby the airport is proposed, because Somersby covers a fair area of land. It covers about 7 or 8 miles. I have been to see the Minister for Civil Aviation twice this afternoon but he was in another place. 1 was trying to find out exactly where the site is because its location makes a great deal of difference. If, God forbid, we are saddled with this airport we want to know as quickly as possible what its relation is to the residential areas of the central coast. It could mean quite a considerable amount of difference. As yet, I have not been able to get that information. The Minister's secretary said that he will do the best he can to give me that information as soon as possible.

I want to know exactly where the site is in relation to the town of Gosford, which is in an area with a population of about 10,000 to 12,000 people. I want to know where it is in relation to the new, growing areas of Lisarow, Wyoming and Narara areas which a few years ago had only about 200 people in them. At the last election I think there were 1,500 voters in Wyoming. This is one of the fast growing areas of my electorate. I imagine that within a very short space of time there will be anything up to 5,000 or 6,000 people in this area. If the area set aside for the airport is going to be on the eastern side of Somersby it could well be that the planes will be flying in within 2 or 3 miles of Gosford and within 2 or 3 miles of Lisarow, Wyoming and Narara where young commuters have come to live because they cannot afford the cost of land in the Sydney metropolitan area. They have come up there to have their families of 2 or 3 children and in the foreseeable future they will have to put up with the problem of airport noise.

I want to know about the flight paths. Surely at this stage there must be some idea of what sort of flight paths are envisaged in the plan. I have heard from some of the leaks that have come out on this matter in the last week or two that the flight path will be in over Ettalong and Woy Woy, into the Somersby area and out through Wyong and The Entrance. That is a very nice semicircle, which just about covers every residential section of my electorate. If anyone was trying to annoy the people who live in my electorate he could not have picked a better plan. We have to know these sorts of things. The honourable member for Grayndler laughs but he knows the areas of Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina, Gosford, Wyong and The Entrance.

Mr Giles - Woy Woy to you.

Mr COHEN - If the honourable member lived there he too would have a persecution complex. It is all very well for honourable members to make jokes about this but this is a very serious matter. 1 hope I can find out about these things and show just what the Liberal Party thinks of a very serious matter which may affect the lives of 80,000 people in my electorate. Apart from these people how will a decision to build a second airport in this area affect the citrus farmers who live in the Mangrove Mountain area? They are the ones who will be most vitally affected. I say the Mangrove Mountain area because for the uninitiated it encompasses the Somersby area. Living in this area there are about 1,500 people who have citrus farms. There is a small amount of dairying in this area but it is mostly citrus. These people will want to know exactly how they will be affected in the future, if they have any future should this plan be implemented.

The proposed siting of an industrial complex in the Somersby area, which is in the Gosford Shire, has been suspended although some 350 acres have been set aside for this project. The New South Wales State Planning Authority has refused point blank to rezone the area for industrial use. The Authority knew that Somersby was being considered as a site for a second airport. 1 placed on the notice paper questions relating to Somersby some 6 months ago but I have not been able to obtain a definite answer. The Authority knew of the proposal for an airport. I have been approached by a number of firms about setting up of factories in this area. One firm wrote to me and said that it had American backing and it wanted to build a factory with a capacity for 150 or 160 employees. The American supporters have been driving this company mad to build a factory in this area but it cannot get a clearance from the authorities. 1 refer to the firm of Hesdols and Co. Pty Ltd which wishes to build a factory in this area. The firm of Ashtons wants to build a factory in the area which would employ about 50 people. Another company which has approached me on this matter is Ronson Pty Ltd with employment for about 100 people.

There are many other firms interested in this area. We could be knocking back employment opportunities for 1,500 to 2,000 people. This is a very vital area for employment purposes. In this area we have the problem of people having to travel a minimum of 1} hours to get to work every day. These people travel 40 to 50 miles a day. Some of them go by car to Gosford and then they spend H hours travelling into the city and from there out to Kingsgrove where they work. It is not uncommon for people to spend 2 hours travelling to work in the morning and 2 hours returning home in the evening. We want to get industry into this area but this is being held up by proposals such as a second airport for Sydney. lt is most, important to bear in mind that the central coast area is a magnificent area. It has every amenity that nature can provide. People who live in Sydney and Newcastle know it well. They go there by the thousands for their holidays. They spend their time at The Entrance, around the lakes, the magnificent streams and lagoons. I know many members of the parliamentary staff who spend their annual holidays in this area. About 5 or 6 members of Parliament have weekenders in this area, including Mr Speaker, the honourable member for Lang (Mr Stewart), and the honourable member for Banks (Mr Martin). These people go there because it is a magnificent area. We have been told that in 30 years there will be half a million people living in this district. This district is a magnificent area for people to spend their retirement. For instance it is not unlike the Mornington Peninsula which is represented by the Minister for Labour and National Service (Mr Lynch) although that is not as good.

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) - You speak as though you are a member of the New South Wales Government Tourist Bureau.

Mr COHEN - I may well finish up there. Many thousands of people spend their retirement on the central coast. They go there because they want to get out of the smog, the congestion, the chaos and ugliness which city people have to put up with. Take the electorate of Grayndler. This is not an attractive area. Suburban areas may have excellent parliamentary representation but physically they are ugly and full of pollution and smog. People come to my electorate to spend their retirement in a pleasant and clean atmosphere. Now we have the suggestion that this magnificent area which has everything that nature can provide should have superimposed on it an international airport. We are hoping to plan a Utopia in this area. I believe we can achieve this aim. Everything is there basically to plan one of the greatest residential areas in the world. I will not go into the details now but I know that we can do this. However, I do not believe it can be done if a decision is taken to place an airport in this area which would create all the ugliness which people seek to get away from for their holidays or retirement.

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